EU's Rehn urges Dutch government to focus on budget

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EU economy commissioner Olli Rehn on Sunday urged the crisis-hit Dutch government to maintain efforts to find the cuts sought in an austerity budget for the Netherlands.

"We trust that the Dutch government will continue to seek budgetary solutions that are important for the financial stability of the country and for the welfare of Dutch citizens," Rehn told Dow Jones Newswires.

His comments came a day after far-right coalition partner Geert Wilders quit weeks-old belt-tightening talks at the 11th hour, plunging Prime Minister Mark Rutte's cabinet into an emergency meeting on Monday at which elections could be called.

Dutch politicians have been trying to agree on some 16 billion euros (U$21 billion) of cuts after official data revealed substantial slippage from the European Union national deficit ceiling of 3.0 percent of gross domestic product.

Rehn will release 2008-2011 deficit and cumulative debt figures for all 27 EU states on Monday morning, and despite being one of just four remaining, fully Triple A-rated eurozone states, failure to close the spending gap would eventually trigger cash sanctions.

© 2012 AFP

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